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An Integrated Platform Based on Bacterial Microcompartment for de novo Proteinaceous Artificial Organelles

                                      Several Points of Bioethical Problems in China 

As the largest developing country, China, with it rapidly developing economics and flourishing scientific researches, rise many new problems in bioethical issues and the regulation of this new scientific field. These problems are not faced by china or other developing countries along as the developing of a new scientific field requires the efforts of all over the world. For example, enlarged market of synthesis biological product, recourses of genetic parts with new functions stored in virgin forest and strengthened research forces all require the participant of developing countries.

Before scrutinize these problems, we should first concentrate on the statues quo of synthesis biology in china. According to our investigation and our long acquired commonsense, we draws the following conclusions:

As Chinese culture does not involves much religious context, the intrinsic bioethical problems* is not as sever and obvious. For most people, they seldom think about these issues or question the validity of research in synthesis biology. However this does not mean that most people really support the ideas of synthesis biology intrinsically, instead they just have no idea with it and with a little enlightenment of negative inclination they confused and shows negative reflections*. Additionally, evaluating a scientific field pragmatically is common among ordinary people and they usually concern more about what change this scientific field will bring to people’s daily life. Ignorance to knowledge in biology and public susceptibility to claims about potential risk of a newly developed technology may easily lead to panic and boycott when synthesis biological technology or product get involve in public safety accidents. In this point of view, this means more promotion of the concept and more explanation of the reason why people should support synthesis biology are necessary in china and some successful product using synthesis biological technology may greatly help to establish wieldy acceptance of synthesis biology.

Secondly, rapidly developing scientific researches and especially relating products and commercial organization challenge the institutional system which is still immature. Working against monopolization,establishing effective supervision system in research and industrial production and many other complicated issues all requires great efforts. As a result, keeping monitoring related activities , periodical meetings discussing related problem and governmental support selectively given to responsible and normative organization might be effective way to guarantee the healthy development of synthesis biology.

Thirdly, we call for non-military usage of synthesis biology and fair competition in the context of wieldy cooperation. Any nation’s will to forestall others or monopolize the market will bring distrust and hostile competition between nations which will lead to great waste of recourses and blockade the development of synthesis biology. As to the developing country, our concern about the challege synthesis biology has brought to our national safety is more intense than the developed countries.

                                                  Bioethics issues
                                                                           --Our campus talk in bioethics

(In this part we provide detail information about our campus talk concerning bioethical issues, which also represents our basic attitude. )

Categories of bioethical issues

Intrinsic bioethical issues: 

whether synthesizing organisms is bad in and of itself, intrinsically bad, aside from the consequences for human welfare. Regulations and strategy of development: As synthesis biology has both benefit and possible risks, its development should be carefully regulated so as to maximize the benefits and avoid possible risks. This involves the aspect of institutional design, legislation and supervision.

Intrinsic bioethical issues (As these issues are often ignored in china for there do not exist common religion, we pay more attention to illustrate the significance of these problems) First we discuss why we should consider these problems as they are not directly related to the material development of society and seems not really consequential. Three major reasons is present here.

Firstly, intrinsic bioethical issues are related to our world view, to be specific, our position in the universe and among all the creatures. As different world views may lead to profound discrepancy in all human affairs, intrinsic bioethical problem should be considered seriously---bioethical problem provides a unique perspective to access a much broader aspect of human world view. To further demonstrate this point, we consider the problem that after we create life as products, whether we will abuse other creatures, even mankind. This is a example how a intrinsic bioethical problem is related to people’s behavior in aspect other than biology.

Secondly, these issues involve how a liberal society deals with the voice from religious organizations and dissent in metaphysical aspect. Studying these problems also helps maintain social harmony in the precondition of being neutral or at least tolerant concerning metaphysical issues. In this perspective, intrinsic bioethical issues bring with it other problems that are not at all abstract.

Last but not least, these issues, just like philosophy and art, are parts of our civilization. As a saying goes “we have goals in life that are a little more ambitious than maximizing the number of genes we pass on to the next generation” , the origin of the these problems is the same as that of our curiosity to the universe and even our fervor to art. As to our attitude to these issues, we do not see any valid reason why these issues should lay any restriction to the research conducted in microbes now. we quote a more thorough conclusion from presidential commission for the study of bioethical issues:“once we study them, they don’t point toward a need to restrict synthetic biology — not now, at any rate. It seems possible that the intrinsic considerations would change as the details change — that is, if environmental damage looked to be likely or if we began to apply the technology to complex organisms.”

Regulations and strategy of development In this part we briefly introduced potential benefit and possible risk of synthesis biology to the audience and outline major perspectives used in the analysis, as these issues are too complicated to be introduced in detail. We also provide some insightful view of related issues in this section including institutional design and our view toward nature. As to the potential benefit, we again quote a insightful statement in presidential commission for the study of bioethical issues: “there really hasn’t been a sympathetic enough explanation to the public of what the full range of potential benefits of new technologies has been. And this sort of “stacks the deck” because people are very aware of possible risk, but the potential social benefits of synthetic biology need to be thoroughly explored, both in terms of advances in basic sciences and in practical applications. ”

We also introduce the method to classify of risks. A comprehensive classification needs to try to distinguish the severity of harm, probability of occurrence, and susceptibility to management of the risk and in particular to try to determine which risks, if any, are peculiar to synthetic biology. Besides we also conveyed information about so-called duel use risk. In this part, as we are not competent enough to carry out in-depth survey, our most information used is cited from presidential commission for the study of bioethical issues.

Links: Presidential commission for the study of bioethical issues:

transcript of the commission on which our campus talk about bioethics mainly based :